The Indian Action Committee (IAC) of Guyana formerly known as the Indian Arrival Committee is a non-profit, non-governmental organizationwhich was established in 2003 and has its primary objective, the promotion and preservation of the culture and traditions brought by Indian Indentured Labourers in 1838. Approximately 239,000 indentured immigrants from india were transported in 245 ships which made 534 voyages across the KaalaPani to British Guiana, the last being in 1971. The first two ships, the whitby and the Hesperus landed in 1838.
While some indentured immigrants returned, the vast majority stayed and endured the harsh conditions to make this land their new home. Their immeasurable contributions through sacrifices have resulted in subsequent generations of Indo-Guyanese descendants being afforded better lives. Today, these descendants continue to be the beneficiaries of their industrious ancestors, more so, at a time when the country is experiencing unprecedented economic growth which has propelled its modernization through technological advancement.
As the country and its people continue to advance, it would be remiss not to mention that, unfortunately, aspects of modernization and suppressive political manoeuvres by the past administration, have contributed to some level of erosion of adherence to the culture and traditions the Indian indentured immigrants stuck steadfastly to and, for which they tirelessly endeavored to sustain and preserve.
It is this sense of preservation that formed the premise of the establishment of the IAC, and over the past decade, the organization has been relentless in its efforts to promote the rich and diverse traditions and culture that reached these shores one hundred and seventy-four years ago. These efforts engendered a renewed enthusiasm in advancing the much needed cultural awareness and pride. This provided an impetus and immensely complemented the efforts of others.
The IAC, with much success, used music, drama and other related activities to foster awareness of the Indian culture and reinstilled the sense of pride which today is being worn as a badge of honour. Today, the annual melas held in all three counties to celebrate and commemorate Indian arrival have become much anticipated events as is the case of the theatrical presentations staged in the city.
The Committee also focuses on specific Education Programs from time to time especially in the area of Alcohol Abuse and Domestic Violence, cultural programs and providing assistance in various forms to Guyanese regardless of their religious and political backgrounds.
Presently, the committee has a membership of 17 persons and is made up of a wide cross section of Guyanese from various sectors and regions of Guyana who are eager to contribute both their time and resources to ensure that Indian culture and traditions are not lost in Guyana.
Annually, the committee is also able to plan and organize over eight major events i.e. the Melas (Arrival Day and Phagwah), Eid Fest, Lighting of the First Diya (Diwali), Christmas Fest, the Lusignan Massacre Remembrance Ceremony amongst a wide host of other activitiesin which the proceeds from some of these events are used to cover the committee operational and administrative cost.
The Indian Action Committee intends to work together with any other public or private bodies and religious organizations to better equip this establishment for the benefit of the people of Guyana.